Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 14: Napier to Greytown

Day 14: Napier to Greytown

New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy. The capital city is Wellington and the main Parliament building is called the Beehive.

Pics: Napier utility boxes, giant Kiwi, tutu tasters, local scarecrows, the haunted house on the hill

For breakfast, we wander back to downtown and decide on scones and muesli. First we the other two tables (we’re all sitting outside) are just chatting away. Then we notice nobody has coffee (it is a cafĂ© specializing in breakfast). Then we notice 10 minutes have gone by. Then our bran muffin (decent) and scone (bread version) arrive. 15 minutes after we order, one other couple gets coffee. Then we get our giant flat whites in bowls…THB starts to eat. No muesli. The other table starts getting real breakfasts, one at a time. 25 minutes after entering, a bowl of muesli arrives with non-traditional fruit on it (watermelon with rind, grapes). Ah, the pace of a beachfront vacation town.

Settle up at the Nautilus, two nights for $240. The room was very nice, though the gigantic whirlpool bathtub in the bedroom seemed a bit quirky. Apparently many of the places in Napier sport them, the Reno of NZ!

On the road to Greytown, to stay with Kate (another ex-Levi’s co-worker) and George, who have relo’d from the US and now have dual citizenship. Greytown is a) about 3.5 hours from Napier, heading south; b) about 45 mins to an hour from Wellington, where we will catch the ferry to the South Island tomorrow, c) one of the nattier small towns we’ve seen.

We arrive in time for a late lunch, at a pub in a nearby town. Lunch: small fish and chips (shared with DB), venison burger (THB actually eats half…a shockah!) with cheese and maybe cranberry salsa, pasta and steak pie for K&G, three local pilsners (very good!), extra chips, $80.

Now we take a tour of local wineries, tasting as we go. We run into a group of women in red tutus and on bikes, doing their tour on bikes (see pics). Somehow, they are managing to keep up with us on their bikes! They are in the area having competed in a “Masters” basketball tourney. We find out from one of the winery pourers that you only have to be over 30 to be a Master. Does that mean we would be competing in the Great-Great-Grandmaster category? Is there a wine-tasting competition we can enter?

Pretty much all the tasting spots charge $4 per set of tastes, and we have been sharing as we go, which is fine as we only need a sip or two to get an impression and keep us from falling over after one or two wineries. THB’s impression: the reds can be very good and if they are really good they are really expensive, $50/btl and up to way up! Whites are more reasonably priced as THB relates to value.

One of the wineries visited is Te Kairanga, and we know their Sauvignon Blancs, we have been drinking them this last year (or is it two?).

Back to K&G’s for researching and discussions of the South Island possibilities, a part of the trip we have not pre-booked (other than our house exchange and two nights at Blanket Bay).

And, the best meal of the trip!! K&G have prepared a home-cooked, fresh ingredients meal: grilled peaches, tomatoes and mozzarella, rack of lamb, corn on the cob (off the stalks in the garden), and a lemon tart. We eat outside, so now THB can even compliment the weather: it has been cool, overcast at times, and delightful to sit outside until 9:30. A gorgeous sunset (see pic). Heaven….

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